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Old 05-25-20, 12:47 PM
ladymm ladymm is offline

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Working in law

Hi all,

I have OCD and PTSD from an emotionally abusive childhood. I have been going to therapy for 7 years and it helps to a degree. In elementary and high school I was a very good student, but in my last year of high school all crashed. I started to have ocd and anxiety etc. I studied law and I finished it, but have done so also moing to another university, considered "easier". But my way of studying totally changed when I changed uni, because I somehow managed to reinvent myself and focus just on the important stuff in the literature. When I was in the original university I was a wreck, depressed, ocd ridden and lost, and feeling "out". Despite being a good student in my past, I studied a lot. My peers studied far less than me and oftentime obtained similar results.

For a series of circumstances I am now working in my father's company. He ignores me and since he is an enabler and an emotionally absent person,it is natural for him to put me in the lowest position of administrative work, while he could give me many more opportunities. But this is what it is, he does what he knows and I will move away. I am just waiting for my husbands job to get a bit more stable and I am gone. I have been preparing for this for a long time. I plan to leave and study for the statal exam for lawyers, which takes cca 4 months and then find a job in the legal area. Where I live to have a decent job in law you must have said statal exam for lawyers they say.

I'm in my mid 30s and until now I had just 1 year of experience in legal work and a short apprenticeship in court. Since this seems to be my karma, also the boss in my 1 year job liked to give me just some administrative jobs which had rarely much to do with law, so I never had a full immersion taste of the legal profession. But from what I worked there, I concluded then that maybe being a lawyer was not the best option for me, and later sometimes I thought also I could be apt to be a lawyer . But all in all its an endless circle in my mind. I thought it was a self esteem thing but it is not just that.

My impediments are the following:
-for me all the arguments are the same and have a hard time deciding what argument has weight,
- I have problems thinking logically. I don't know how to prove that but I sometimes have no logic when things are logic. I have a hard time getting the "point " of things
- I make quite a few spelling mistakes and I am talking of a paragraph copied and pasted twice and similar. When I had a short apprenticeship in court also the judge who was reviewing my work said ah this spelling mistakes you can't have them. Most legal texts are on a high level of writing, with zero mistakes. And I review and review but the mistakes come up and my eye can't catch them.
- I have a problem making long texts, like legal texts, where you have to convey something through a structure. I have difficulty following the line of the narrative.
- also, sometimes I have bouts of obsessive thoughts and in those days im out/anxious/can't focus,
- can't sit still and focus if things don't encaptivate me. And lets be real a job is a job and many times you have to push through some less interesting stuff.

When I talking something from myself, like now, expressing myself in writing is not such a big problem. Also to express myself about simple questions is not a problem. But I think in the legal scenario, the weaknesses I listed are a true problem.

People may say ah this is normal or something. But I feel my deficits are heavy and they block me. I don't now if they can be solved or what to do.
I feel I can't go leave my job go do the statal exam (which also btw costs) and then opt for a legal job with the listed problems weighing so hard on me.

If I find out the problems I wrote about are part of my nature, I will accept it. If they are some kind of handicap I will adapt. Once more, I will turn my life around, but what I need now is closure. After years of introspection on the subject, I don't feel I have a problem of low self esteem, but some kind of problem with my brain's focus and attention.

I would appreciate your thoughts on my situation.

Thank you!
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Old 05-27-20, 08:43 PM
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Re: Working in law

First and foremost, I am not a lawyer. What little I know of lawyers and law pertains only to the USA. But I am a retired mechanical engineer, another profession that is demanding, with certain areas that you really need to get right.

I was very fortunate to be exceptionally mechanically inclined from a young age. But my ADHD was a big problem through school. When I graduated from high school I vowed to never subject myself to that torture again. Then a bit later in life I reached the limit of where my education could take me, and it wasn't enough. Through sheer will, determination and fear of an unsatisfying life I enrolled in college. Because I was so highly motivated (and 15 years older than my peers) I did well.

I wouldn't say my career was fulfilling, but it did fit my abilities and provided a good living. One of the primary reasons I survived it was that I worked on projects that might have me doing all manner of different things at any time, so when my ADHD crazy-brain made me unproductive I could sort of disappear without being missed too much. And I did have the occasional flash of brilliance that made management feel I was worth something.

Not sure, but those don't seem like conditions you are likely to find in a law career. Are they? Seems to me your progress would be highly visible. And I would tend to agree with the judge who said your writing needs to be top notch. Mine does too as an engineer, and the consequences of mistakes are likely even higher for you as a lawyer.

Writing ability can improve rather dramatically after the age of 30, since there is a part of our brains involved with writing that takes that long to fully mature. But you're in your mid-30s, so I doubt that applies. Your writing here is better than some native speakers, but I still get the sense that at least English is your second language, so I can't make a thorough judgement.

All of this, combined with your comment about not thinking logically, leads me to ask if you are taking medication for your ADHD (assuming you have an official diagnosis of ADHD). Meds weren't the answer for me, but they work wonders for some - completely transforming a scattered ADHD crazy-brain into a highly functioning machine. (And for others, meds only take the edge off the crazy-brain.) If I were in your position and hadn't tried medication, that is the first thing I would pursue. Note that it can take a lot of trial and error to get the drug type and dosage right, but the results are frequently worth the effort.

If you're concerned that you might have to abandon all your hard work preparing to be a lawyer, that may not be the case. For example, logic is very important to a lawyer, but so is the ability to read people on an intuitive level. Many people, including lawyers, can't do both. The point being that you need to evaluate all the things that are important to being a lawyer, for different types of lawyers, and balance that with an honest list of your strengths. Different types of people excel at being specialists in corporate law, product liability, divorce, bankruptcy, etc., etc.

In my senior year of engineering school we had a class project with all the students taking on a broad spectrum of tasks. One of my colleagues did OK (not exceptionally) with theory and design, but he was all thumbs when attempting to make things in the shop. At the end of the year I asked him what his plans were. He knew he didn't have the abilities needed to make a good engineer, probably due in part to the fact that it wasn't a lifelong calling for him like it was for me. So he decided to leverage his new degree in engineering by going to law school. I think he would have been a fine lawyer in patent law.

Hopefully you won't have to make a major reset in your education. You could use your law background in social services, the legal departments of companies in a wide variety of industries, politics, any number of venues. Think in terms of open doors, not closed doors.

And please pursue medication if you haven't already. Put in the time to make sure you've exhausted that possibility before abandoning it. (Which might be a year or more.)

Best of luck,
"Normal" refers to a majority view.

If ADHD was more prevalent it would be "normal". It would shape all of society, just as it shapes our individual lives now.

Those with an excessive need for order, consistency and timeliness would face a lifelong struggle. Most of us "normals" would wonder why they don't lighten up and be more open to life's ebb and flow.

"Normal" is a meaningless concept. Reality is what it is. How we choose to deal with it is what defines us.
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Old 05-28-20, 03:54 PM
ladymm ladymm is offline

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Re: Working in law

Zoom dude,

Thank you for your reply!

Two big factors why I chose law university were that like this I could have a good wage and go away from my family. For a series of events, this didn't happen and i am now in my mid 30s with no interesting skills to put in my cv. But i still can do the statal exam and do what i wanted to do 10 years ago. I chose law and not for example something else, because I don't have a strong inclination for natural sciences. If I could do anything I would be a translator, and if you ask me what I do well it could be sone accounting job. I tried to get jobs as translator, but even as side job it is difficult to get clients. And no, English is not my first language as you guessed correcttly

The fact that I should not be dependant on my family (work for my father) is key for my mental health, and when i don't know what do next I panic. So somehow through introspection I came to the conclusion that I may have some problem in the attention deficit spectrum. I was never diagnosed and never took medicines for that, so I have no experience. I just wrote to this forum so I could somehow confirm in my had that I have some problems in the ADD sense.

What I find especially helpful in your post is that you took in consideration the possibility of my illogical train of thought and writing problems. Usually people deny it and say I am exaggerating. Even some voice in me says the same. But I know these issues need to be addressed,law career or not. I think if I find out that some kind of problem will prevent me to do law, I will do accounting maybe, for which I did some courses. But also there is a part of me who wants to try law. Also I always think that I have to find something that will support me financially because I want no longer financial connections with my family. I am married and have a husband but he is working part time now so I have to also think practically when it comes to money. Its a mix of things, and not the best of times. It is like a dark night of the soul and I have to turn every stone to see what is hidden beneath.
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Old 05-28-20, 09:58 PM
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Re: Working in law

Originally Posted by ladymm View Post
What I find especially helpful in your post is that you took in consideration the possibility of my illogical train of thought and writing problems. Usually people deny it and say I am exaggerating.

Well, unlike "normal" people, we ADDers don't drown ourselves in denial. In fact, we discourage it.
Now I'm not a fun personified cheerful child anymore and just a comically serious deadpan snarker.
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